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5 Tips to Recycle Responsibly

We all want to do our part to help the Earth, but sometimes we feel we just we don’t know how. Nine out of 10 people said they would recycle if it were “easier.” Here are 5 simple tips to become a recycling regular:

1. Follow City’s Pickup Standards.

Depending where you live, recyclables are either collected in blue plastic bags or loose in bins. Follow the regulations of your City to ensure extra plastic is not wasted. If your City does not require collection in plastic bags, use a bin or cart when taking out or dropping off recycling.

Collecting recyclables in plastic bags can cause issues with the recycling equipment and sorting machines. Plastic bags can get tangled and contaminate sorted recycling bins creating more trouble and waste. Because of this, they can end up in landfills, blow away and clog our waterways, oceans and seas.

Plastic bags, like grocery bags should never be recycled with your recyclables. Collect plastic bags and consider looking into collection programs at local grocery stores and retailers. To find a location accepting drop-offs near you, check out plasticfilmrecycling.org. 

2. Only recycle clean, empty containers.

Rinse out your bottles, jars and cartons before throwing them in the recycling. Remember, that pizza box isn’t recyclable. While it is cardboard, it can never be clean and free of grease and food remnants.

3. Replace bottle lids after cleaning.

Plastic lids can now be recycled but they can’t be recycled alone. Bottle lids that are thrown into recycling alone can be hard to spot and are often lost in the process of sorting. This means they can end up with the trash and head to a landfill. After you empty and clean your containers, make sure to put the caps back on.

4. Don’t mix everything together if you’re unsure.

When recycling, it is important not to “wish cycle”. Wish cycling is a term used to describe when someone puts items in their recycling and is unsure if it’s recyclable or not. This creates more waste and contaminates items that could have been recycled. While it feels good to recycle more items, make sure you only recycle the “core” recycling items at home: cans, cartons, glass bottles and jars, paper and boxes, and plastic bottles and jugs.

5. Research your city’s recycling policies.

If you’re interested in learning more about how you can continue or start recycling correctly, research your City’s website to find out what items are accepted, and the best way to recycle. Each site will address any frequently asked questions you might have on recycling properly where you live. If you live in Cuyahoga County, you can find more information at cuyahogarecycles.org.

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